Does Subsidence Affect House Price?

Estimated reading time 7 minutes

Subsidence can be hugely damaging when it comes to trying to sell your house. If not dealt with quickly enough, you can be looking at a substantial drop in value of your property. In some cases, it could mean you are in a position where nobody makes an offer until the price is drastically reduced.

Whilst not impossible to sell a house with subsidence, it is a lot harder. Thankfully, the emergence of sell house fast companies like Gaffsy means that should you be struggling to sell, help is always at hand. As we buy any house, you can always speak to us over your subsidence house sale concerns.

There is a chance your property has subsidence issues you are not even aware of. If you tackle it soon enough, you may be able to retain some of the original value of the house. Read on to learn more.

What is subsidence?

Subsidence is where the ground under your house sinks, or caves in. It is at its most problematic when the ground is sinking at different rates as the foundations can become unaligned and therefore put the structure of the building at risk.

How much does subsidence devalue a property?

The loss of value on your property can vary; in some cases, it can be as low as 20% but can be much more. That could easily equate to over £100,000 with current house prices.

Can I still sell a house with subsidence?

You certainly can sell your house if it has subsidence, you will just need to be prepared to receive offers well under what you had hoped for.  The lower price will incentivise a quick sale and will allow the interested parties to be able to set aside cash for the repairs. It is more likely that a cash house buyer will invest in properties like this as mortgage lenders tend to stay away from subsiding properties as they are uninsurable in their current state.

How to spot subsidence

There are a few things that can indicate that the process of subsiding has begun. Commonly, it is thought that cracked walls are a sign but that isn’t always the case. Some cracks are purely natural and will not lead to anything substantial. However, some can lead to subsidence and as a result a decrease in house value. Look out for those that:

  • Appear close to a door or window
  • Are wider than 3mm
  • Can be seen both inside and outside
  • Spread diagonally across the wall

Sometimes, the signs of subsidence can be hidden for years until certain indicators appear so also look out for the following:

  • Rippled wallpaper
  • Doors and windows sticking when opening or closing
  • Cracks appearing between a property and extension
  • The property appearing slanted

As well as the signs that do point to subsidence, there are many others that are often mistaken for causing the gradual sinking of your house. If you see any of the four things below, it tends not to be because of subsidence:

  • Bulging floorboards
  • Damp patches appearing
  • Tilting large trees outside the house
  • Musty odour

What are the types of subsidence?

There are a few things you need to do to fix subsidence, but it can be a very expensive process and ultimately very time consuming. The sooner it is spotted, the sooner it can be fixed. Which then means a better price for your house. However, in some instances, it can take up to 3 years for the problem to be resolved and any insurance payments made.

Before attempting to fix the issue though, you will need to determine whether the subsidence is historical or ongoing. Due to the fact you must disclose any subsidence issues to your estate agent, it is vitally important that you have a surveyor assess the property before progressing.

  • Historical subsidence is where any further movement of the property is unlikely, and no further work will be needed
  • Ongoing subsidence is where work must be carried out before you can sell

If you are selling a house that suffered from historical subsidence, you will need to provide evidence of any insurance claims and the work done to rectify the problem. The interested party can also ask for a certificate of structural adequacy. Failing to provide such documentation could result in an interested party pulling out. You can find out more about how long do you have to declare subsidence now.

Does subsidence stop on its own?

Unfortunately, no. The damage to the house can be caused over a long time and as a result the issue is gradual. So much so, that it could be happening over a period of years with small elements of sinking taking place that you would not at first notice. These gradually lead to a potential collapse or severe internal and external damage.

How do you fix subsidence?

Underpinning is the process of strengthening the foundations of a property. Once the job is complete, you can sell the property, but it must be completed to a sufficient standard and illustrate that there are no further subsidence issues likely to occur.

The level of subsidence will determine what type of repair job is needed and as a result, the cost.


Piling is the most expensive form of underpinning and is only used for very deep foundations.

Mass concrete fill/Beam and base

These are the most common forms of underpinning and are likely what would be offered to you as solutions. Your surveyor will inform you of what type you require.

How much does subsidence cost to repair?

The costs of fixing subsidence vary per house type. The location and size of the house can be determining factors, but you can expect £10-15,000. However, these costs do not include the hourly rate of structural engineers, planning permission and party wall agreements. Factor these in and you can be easily adding an additional £3000+ to the total costs.

Can I sell my house if it has been underpinned?

Once subsidence has been fixed, you can sell your property, but you will need to declare that underpinning has taken place. If you do not declare it, you could see yourself facing legal trouble as the buyer is protected by The Misinterpretation Act 1967. Selling an underpinned house is something you need to be fully transparent about. You should provide your insurer’s name to the new occupants, especially if subsidence issues were to reoccur in the future. One potential positive for the buyer is that underpinning stands to reinforce the foundations, meaning the house is potentially stronger than houses with no subsidence issues. Just be aware that even with this, you are still likely to see a 25% drop in property value.

Is subsidence covered by insurance?

As mentioned above, the cost of fixing subsidence issues can be costly, in both the initial repairs and the loss of value to your property. Many house insurance companies will include subsidence within their policies but only where subsidence has not been an issue before. Depending on the policy chosen, all damage and the cost or repairing items could well be covered.  Underpinning, though, tends to be covered only within specialist insurance packages.

In addition to this, if your house is at risk from erosion due to a riverbank or coastal location you are likely to need a specific insurance policy that covers damages outside your home.

Insuring a house with subsidence is likely to cost upwards of £300 whereas to insure a house without it is significantly less with the costs approximately £100-£120 per year.

As you may have read earlier, whilst subsidence is covered by insurance, to have a claim fully settled and the job completed can take up to 3 years.

If your house is subsiding, contact the SHQN team today. We buy any house, no matter what the condition. We operate as a cash house buyer enabling a quick sale so you can get your property plans moving fast. We can also help you with information regarding what you need to disclose when selling a house in the UK.

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